Grand National memories: Red Rum hits hat-trick in 1977
By the time the 1977 Grand National came around, Red Rum was entering the twilight of his career.
Now aged 12 and running in his fifth Aintree showpiece, he hadn’t showed that much throughout the season, but a hint at a revival on his final start in Haydock’s Grand National Trial gave Ginger McCain hope he could get Rummy in tip-top shape.
There was enough market support behind him to send him off joint second favourite with Gay Vulgan at 9/1, behind the 15/2 favourite Andy Pandy, who had won at Haydock.
A 42-strong field faced the start but, by Becher’s Brook first time, over a quarter of the field was lost with six falling at the first and also at the third fence, which included fancied runners Pengrail and War Bonnet.
Scotland’s representative Sebastian V led the field down to first Becher’s where he over-jumped and unseated Ridley Lamb on landing, which left Boom Docker in front. The new leader kept extending his advantage on the pack which included Andy Pandy and Red Rum but, going out into the country on the second circuit, Boom Docker had other ideas and refused at the 17th.
This left Andy Pandy clear going down to Becher’s second time, and he was swinging away for John Burke, who had won the previous year on Rag Trade. He came to Becher’s and jumped it well, but just couldn’t get the landing gear out in time and rolled over, leaving Burke to throw his whip is disgust.
Having kept out of trouble, Red Rum took it up from Churchtown Boy, who chased him down over the Canal Turn and the side of the course crossing the Melling Road.
Churchtown Boy was going ever so well going to the second last, but he clouted it which left Red Rum to go win the race. Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s commentary remains firmly in mind (“They’re willing him home now!”), as the 12-year-old galloped all the way to the line to record a record third victory. A record that will never be matched again.
Relive Red Rum’s historic triumph below: